While not one of North America’s big four sports, mixed martial arts has grown thanks to the promotion of the UFC as the premium MMA brand in the world. In recent years, the continued spread of legal sports betting is only helping the popularity of the UFC and MMA as a whole.
The most popular fighters draw the most betting action. However, there is still plenty of lesser publicized fights that you can wager on as well. If you want to wager on the UFC or some of the lower-level MMA events, here’s a guide with everything you need to know about betting on the sport in Ohio.
Why bet on the UFC?
While every sport has its interesting aspects, here are a couple of things that help set the UFC apart from a betting perspective:
- Fun: It’s simple, but this is the No. 1 reason people get into sports betting. They are simply looking for another way to entertain themselves and keep life as a sports fan as interesting as possible. Adding a few dollars to a fight at your next UFC pay-per-view watch party can make for a more fun night.
- Fast-paced action: A fight card will have several bouts, including the preliminary card leading up to the main card where the best fights of the night are set to take place. Fights do not take all that long, and after a few minutes, you’re on to the next matchup. If you wanted to, you could bet on multiple fights in an evening.
How to bet on the UFC in Ohio
Here are some of the main UFC bets you’ll see at legal Ohio sportsbooks:
- Moneyline (fighter to win): This is the most basic way to bet on the UFC. You simply bet on which fighter you believe will win, with a correct wager on the underdog paying out more than a correct bet on the favorite. For example, if Conor McGregor is at +110 odds against Dustin Poirier at -130 odds, the negative number indicates that Poirier is the favorite.
- To go the distance: Bet on whether the fight will end before all scheduled rounds are complete.
- Over/under for rounds: Sportsbooks will release odds for how long a fight will last. For example, the round total for a fight between Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson could be 2.5 rounds, and you could bet whether the actual total will be over or under 2.5.
- To win fight in a specific round: This is a tough wager to win consistently, but you could bet on the exact round a fight will end in.
- To win fight in a range of rounds: For an easier chance than picking an exact round the fight will end, you could choose a certain range of rounds like 1-2, 2-3, etc.
- Winning methods: Not only can you bet on who will win an upcoming fight, but you also can bet on how someone will win. Options would include winning by KO/TKO/DQ, submission, decision or draw.
Do UFC fight odds change?
An important thing to learn with sports betting is that the odds you see earlier in the week leading up to a fight may not be the same as they are in the hours before the bout is set to take place. There are a variety of reasons the lines will move.
One of the main reasons lines move is what the bettors do with their money. If far more money goes on one side of a bet than the other, it could force oddsmakers to adjust to help mitigate their risk. Sportsbooks may also recognize if the money from particularly skilled bettors is going a certain way. Some bettors watch for this and do what is called chasing steam by mimicking the bets they think the sharps are making.
UFC betting lines can move significantly on the day of the fight because that is usually when many of the casual bettors will start placing wagers.
UFC Vegas odds vs. Ohio sportsbook odds
For a long time, a popular talking point was what the Vegas odds said because that was where you could legally bet on sports in the US. Now that wagering on sports is legal in many states and growing, the term “Vegas odds” may still hold some cachet, but those odds are likely to be the same or very similar to what you might find at your preferred sportsbook in your state.
The UFC odds you’ll find in Ohio should not be all that different from what you’ll see out of Las Vegas. Oddsmakers use their models and in-depth analytics to determine the best numbers for sportsbooks, which is why earning a long-term profit on sports betting is so difficult. You can find UFC odds in various places through popular legal sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM and more, all of which are regulated and safe in multiple states.
Live betting on UFC fights
One of the most entertaining ways to wager on the UFC is through live betting. You no longer need to place your bets before the start of a fight. Instead, you can get in on the action as the fight occurs. With the convenience of sportsbook apps, you can pull out your phone and bet while you’re watching the fight on TV. This is possible in any state with legal online betting that isn’t restricted to sportsbook locations.
Strategies for UFC live betting may include noting fatigue or the momentum of a particular fight. It can be a thrilling way to bet. UFC betting odds will move by the second, and you must be quick to place your bet if you see some numbers you like.
Beginner tips for UFC betting
If you are new to UFC betting online, here are some basic MMA betting tips to remind yourself of before submitting your next bet:
- Do your homework: This goes for any sport, but if you are serious about betting on the UFC, make sure you put the research in. With the rise of sports betting, the betting public has never had more access to information than it does now. Study the fighters’ trends, fight history and techniques to get a better idea of how the bout will play out.
- Start small: If you are new to betting on the UFC or new to betting on sports in general, it’s important you do not get ahead of yourself and wager more than you should. Maybe you can increase the money you are willing to risk once you get the hang of it, but a good rule of thumb is never to bet a dollar amount you are not comfortable losing because that’s where problems may arise.
- Evaluate fight history: You can learn a lot from what each fighter has done in recent bouts. One fighter could have a much better record than the other, but that success could’ve come years ago, and the opponent might have seen more recent success. Sometimes, fights will be rematches, so it’s important to look back and see how previous fights played out.
- Bet creatively: Many bettors will simply take a look at the money line odds and pick who will win a particular fight. That is the easiest way to wager on the sport, but it’s probably not the most profitable of your options. If you notice a fighter tends to win in a certain way or if his or her fights usually end in a specific round, that might be where the betting value could be.
Odds boosts for UFC fights
One area to take advantage of is the promotions that sportsbooks will offer. Competition is high right now as legal sportsbooks continue to battle for new customers, and they will offer bonuses and odds boosts to attract new users.
These promotions are most prevalent when leading up to a fight that will see a significant amount of interest. Fighters with star power like Conor McGregor will get plenty of attention from all sorts of areas like pay-per-view buys, in-person attendance and of course sports bettors.
An example of a potential bonus could involve new users betting $1 on the next UFC event and receiving $150 in free bets from a winning bet. Sportsbooks are willing to take a short-term hit financially because they are highly likely to earn more money from bettors in the long run.
UFC betting rules — the fine print
No matter what sport you are betting on, it’s important to check the terms and conditions at your sportsbook. If you have any questions, the sportsbook’s customer service department should be able to provide you with an answer. Below are some common questions that may arise when wagering on MMA fights:
- When do betting lines close for UFC fights? Betting lines will close just moments before the start of the fight, but you can also bet live once the fight is happening.
- What happens to your bet if there’s a draw? Unless a draw was among the betting options to choose from, a draw would result in all bettors getting their money back as if their bets never happened.
- What happens to a bet with a DQ? Unless a disqualification is a part of the betting options, disqualification could be declared a no-contest, and bettors would receive a refund.
Be sure to check your sportsbook for rules like these, as they sometimes vary slightly from book to book.
Betting on other MMA organizations
While the UFC is the king when it comes to MMA, with the sport’s most powerful figures and athletes, there also are other MMA organizations to wager on. Bellator is among the most popular outside of the UFC, along with the PFL, ONE Championship and others. The UFC will see the most wagers and most money bet by far, but be sure to check the MMA section of your sportsbook regularly to see what else might be available.